WhatsApp to raise its minimum age to 16 in Europe

Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp will set its minimum age for use from 13 to 16 in Europe when the General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect on May 25. Facebook itself will also modify its handling of accounts for users between the age of 13 and 15.

Online companies have been working in spurts to comply with every aspect of the GDPR, which is intended to give European internet users more control of their data and was crafted two years ago.

While WhatsApp requests a less robust dataset than some of Facebook’s other platforms, it will be enacting new terms of service and privacy policy package that over-16 signees must agree to. It is unclear how and if WhatsApp would enforce the limit.

WhatsApp recently agreed to suspend its data handling protocol that passed users’ sensitive information onto its parent company after pressure from the United Kingdom and other European Union governments.

Reuters reports that Facebook, which has generated plenty of controversy over recent revelations of actions that suggested a lax attitude to user privacy, will also soon ask under-16s to assign a parent or guardian that will give permission for that person to share data to access the full feature suite of the networking application.

These terms will be supplied from the companies’ Ireland operations. Facebook and WhatsApp users outside of Europe will receive new privacy policies and terms of service from closer-by regional branches.

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Jules Wang
Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.